The University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship recently hosted The Out of This World Pitch Party at the Venture Development Center, complete with 20 student pitch presentations and a $1,200 prize pool.
The biannual pitch event features students delivering 90-second pitches to a panel of judges in a fun and friendly environment. Students are encouraged to share their ideas to get a taste of pitching. The panel of judges was comprised of Ellyn Herbert, an Economic Development Specialist with the US Small Business Administration, Holly Quinn, the lead reporter of Technical.ly Delaware and Markevis Gideon, founder of NerdIt Now, a full-service tech repair company.
The first place prize of $700 was awarded to Keyp, a fashionable phone accessory that securely holds credit cards and keys in a modern and unique design. The idea was pitched by ENTI student Isabella Rimton, Class of 2020 and Austin Gappelberg, Business Management, Class of 2020.
“The pitch competition is a great way to get valuable feedback – both from the judges and from all students and professors who come out to support and watch,” said Isabella. The Keyp team was even able to network with the panel of judges to help them bring the venture to life. “The pitch party was a great experience for us and turned out to be a huge help in connecting us with manufacturers,” said Austin. “The money we earned from the pitch party will be put directly towards our manufacturing.”
The second place prize of $300 was awarded to Lunch Alert, a venture that aims to provide lunches for school-age children with allergies and dietary restrictions as well as raise awareness about what the restrictions impact. The venture was presented by Santha Rani, Neuroscience, Class of 2022.
“From this experience, I learned that sometimes you just need to take a chance because you never know what you could get from it,” said Santha. “Initially, I did not want to pitch because I thought I was unprepared, but I signed up after so many people from VentureOn encouraged me to do so. The atmosphere of the competition was very friendly and I received good feedback from the judges.”
The third place award of $200 went to bra•vo, a venture that aims to provide women with an innovative undergarment that is more comfortable and practical in professional settings than the standard mastectomy bra. The idea was pitched by ENTI student Amanda Monachelli, Class of 2021.
“I actually really enjoyed the pitching atmosphere,” said Amanda, “Standing eye-level to the judges surprisingly made pitching less intimidating because it felt like I was speaking to them. Plus, seeing the friendly faces in the audience was a bonus! I’ve just always assumed that the only students interested in entrepreneurship hang out at the VDC… and that’s totally not the case!”
Horn Entrepreneurship hosts two pitch parties annually for students to practice their pitching and public speaking skills. The date for the fall pitch party will be announced as the fall semester begins.
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.